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Capital has always ruled

November 18th, 2023 | Tags: Dickson C. Igwe economics BVI Virgin Islands
Dickson C. Igwe. Photo: VINO/File
Dickson C. Igwe

The hegemony of capital is nothing new. From the earliest days, in fact, the start of written history, the person who controlled land, tools for hunting, and implements for plowing soil, and the most basic items for life- all forms of capital- ruled the tribe.

Then, with the emergence of community from Stone Age cave dwelling, and hunting and gathering, to communal living, the village leader or chief controlled food and water distribution, and basic trading. This was essentially the start 

With the transformation of the community into a larger more complex society, the tools and implements created by man evolved to increase the quantity and quality of food, water, heating, clothing, and shelter.

The rule of capital, even at its most primitive – the horse and cart- empowered landowners, who in turn paid a proportion in crops and livestock to kings and noblemen, for protection from hordes that dwelled outside the walls of the village and town, and sometimes within. That was the beginning of government and the establishment of law and order.

Medieval society – the Middle Ages- was socially and economically about the ownership of land and the peasant labor that inhabited and worked that land.  Land, livestock, implements, and peasant labor was capital that generated wealth for the kings, lords, and noblemen of the time

The struggle between the haves and have-nots became a feature of history as communities increased in size and new skills and markets developed. The slave and peasant as suffering underdog is part of the narrative of history. The underdog of ages past has evolved into the working classes in today’s West, and the impoverished masses in Africa, Latin America, and parts of Asia. 

The ‘evils’ of social inequality are age-old. The tussle between capitalism and socialism – capital and social equality- has been an ongoing story, especially, from the start of the Industrial Revolution in the 1700s, through to the age of industrialization, and this new age of knowledge and information. However, capital in the 21st Century has won that war. Capitalism has prevailed over opposing ideologies and cultures. Capital rules. That is the cold reality.

Today, capital has been so successful that the fear of the capitalist is that the capital mix may no longer require the human element. Science and technology may replace that human element: the debate on Artificial Intelligence embodies that fear.

The conflict between capital, and the drive for greater human equality by those on the outside of capital ownership, has driven modern history from the end of feudalism and absolute monarchy to the present-day science and technology epoch, with its relatively complex forms of governance and human engagement. In fact, the Wars of the Twentieth Century including the Cold War have as an underlying theme the power of capital to drive international hegemony and geopolitics.

Post the Industrial Revolution with the rise of the nation-state and modern republics, the Bolshevik Revolution and communism, war and peace in the twentieth century, social capital, Liberal Economics, and now the rise of the Multinational Corporation, tech, to the rule of the billionaire, capitalism is triumphant.

Contemporary economics news has centered on the question of whether there is a fundamental flaw in capitalist society, owing to concerns about growing inequality. However, the inequality question has become mere rhetoric. History has been essentially the story of capital and its evolution in its various forms. Inequality and the struggle for greater equality by humanity is a feature of written history. History is nihilistic.

Capitalism has been the great survivor of the ravages of history and of all the conflicting ideas and ideologies of the 19th and 20th Centuries. There has always been inequality and the ownership of capital is as old as written history.

There is no escaping that today, we are all at the mercy of business, finance, and technology, all forms of capital. Capital drives government and the deficits that power governance. Global capital rules the space and marketplace in modern times, as the most basic forms of land ownership and organization ruled in centuries past. Capital is borderless and moves at the speed of light in the 21st Century.

Today, wealthy countries dominate poor countries. The rich rule over the poor. Science and technology drive war and peace. Above stands the Multinational Corporation and powerful investor with the world as their stage.  Once upon a time, Jack the Capitalist was a fixture of Western society alone. Today the investor and capitalist rule in every country, east and west, north and south, and exists under every social and political system. The history of humankind may well end with capitalism.

12 Responses to “Capital has always ruled ”

  • just so (18/11/2023, 14:17) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    No money no honey
  • The watchdog (18/11/2023, 15:45) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Speaking of money boundaries, don’t let yourself head into the holiday season without having a monthly budget in place.
  • ................................. (18/11/2023, 15:48) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Growing up without money affects how you live on a daily basis in childhood, and it can have long-term effects into adulthood, even when you begin to have enough money to make ends meet.
  • fish (18/11/2023, 17:24) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    We need a locally designed and delivered capacity system for our time
  • Anonymous (19/11/2023, 08:53) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    If you take away our capitalism system you kill our community
  • Bush Professor (19/11/2023, 14:54) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    The Golden Rule dictates that he who has the gold makes the Golden Rule(s). The type of golden rules instituted is a function of the type of institution is in play, ie, extractive or inclusive institutions. Extractive economic institutions are designed and structured by the few to extract resources from many to enrich and benefit themselves. Political extractive institutions support extractive economic institutions by linking with it and providing the political power and structure to operate. There is a close link between extractive economic institutions and extractive political institutions creating a vicious circle. Extractive institutions are not keen on protecting property rights, creating a level playing, encouraging new investment, etc. Further, there is a link between inclusive economic and political institutions and prosperity and growth and development, protecting property rights, providing incentives for economic growth, distributing political power widely, etc, creating a virtuous circle.
    • E. Leonard (20/11/2023, 07:43) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
      Indeed, he who has the gold/capital makes the rules by inhabiting and controlling economic and political institutions to set the rules of the game. In a representative democracy, voters elect and send representatives to parliament, house of assembly, legislature, senate, etc to work for and represent their interests. Nevertheless, the rich and powerful, the major campaign contributors, big donors, etc., working quietly behind the scene influence passing of legislation, setting of policy, and putting the structure(s) in place that benefits and protect their financial, investment, and business interests. The few, not the many, drive the agenda. He/she who has the gold makes the rules, suiting the advantage of the few, and disadvantaging the many.
      • Quiet Warrior (20/11/2023, 10:07) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
        To E. Leonard, so the game, system is rigged and the lil man loses? These guides, these political hoes shamelessly and openly prostitute themselves to the highest bidder with the lowest bidder, the many, electing them to office to get shafted/screwed. No wonder many are turned off on the value of voting.Nonetheless, voting matters, in spite of the system/game being rigged, for by not voting, we make it easier for the crooks, scoundrels, the political prostitutes, etc to win and do the bidding for the highest bidder. We lose all around. We lose because we are of African descent. We lose because whites/the supposed upperclass by force amass all the control, wealth, power, resources, and levers of government to control blacks through legal and extralegal means to keep them as a permanent underclass and from amassing any meaningful capital.
        • Quiet Rebel (20/11/2023, 11:43) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
          @Quiet Warrior, brutal blows but the scoundrels have earned and are deserving of every word for their deceitful, treacherous and betrayal behaviour.
      • @E. Leonard (21/11/2023, 19:58) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
        @E. Leonard, our institutions needed to be reimagined, for all our institutions are patterned after corrupt colonial institutions. Like there is no pure capitalist or socialist economies , there are no pure extractive economic and political institutions as there are no pure inclusive economic and political institutions. We need to fix our institutions in order to make capital meaningful and purposeful.
      • @E. Leonard (21/11/2023, 19:59) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        @E. Leonard, our institutions needed to be reimagined, for all our institutions are patterned after corrupt colonial institutions. Like there is no pure capitalist or socialist economies , there are no pure extractive economic and political institutions as there are no pure inclusive economic and political institutions. We need to fix our institutions in order to make capital meaningful and purposeful.
  • Quiet Storm (19/11/2023, 17:53) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    I like he who has the gold makes the rule. The rich supports and campaign contributions to political candidates with the expectations that they will pass legislation that will be benefit and advantageous to the rich and wealthy campaign contributors, regardless of the disadvantage to the masses..An example of this special support and preferential treatment is former US President Donald Trump $1.8T tax break for the rich and wealthy. The US tax system favors the rich and punishes the working class who collects a pay check and who has the highest tax rate. The poor and working class don’t have means to use the tax system and debt to avoid paying little to no tax. The system is bought to permit this. The rich gets richer. Capital is a part of the factors of production, along with land, labour, and entrepreneurship. And the rich and wealthy weaponize capital to gain an unfair advantage through proposing economic policies which are supported by friendly politicians. I’m not an economist or politician so I don’t squat about either extractive economic institutions or extractive political institutions so I defer to the experts.

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